We are pleased to announce the Winter 2018 issue of
Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal.
What is the connection between civic engagement and informal science education? This important question is thoughtfully examined in an article by Larry Bell, Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at the Museum of Science in Boston. Beginning with a deconstruction of the meanings of “civic engagement” and “civic life,” the article proposes a model for the development of civic engagement within informal science education and emphasizes the role of museums as civic spaces. This article is introduced by David Ucko, who previously served as president of the Kansas City Museum and deputy director of the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings at the National Science Foundation
Rachel A. Bergstrom (Beloit College) reveals the educational benefits that arise when undergraduate students are engaged as partners in authentic scientific research. She describes a research course in which students participate in a translational research program in epilepsy. The positive impact of this experience was documented with student research outcomes and an assessment of student learning gains
Dr. Pamela Leggett-Robinson and Naranja Davis from Georgia State University, together with Dr. Brandi Villa from Belay Consulting, describe a support and persistence program for STEM students at a two-year institution. The objective of the program is to enhance STEM identity by promoting civic engagement that enabled students to use their knowledge and skills for community improvement. Data collected over several years demonstrates that participation in the program increased student persistence and graduate rates.
A team of educators (Areeba Iqbal, Kayla Natal, Melanie Villatoro and Diana Samaroo) from the New York City College of Technology, City University of New York, have partnered with Servena Narine at P.S. 307 Daniel Hale Williams School to develop a variety of STEM activities aimed at elementary school students. By engaging students early in their schooling, the educators aim to stimulate interest in the study of STEM in college and future STEM career.
Jeff Secor, a teacher at the Dalton School in New York, explains the role of science in democratic decision-making in a volunteer-run community garden. When deliberating the construction of a new greenhouse, the community members had to consider factors such as location, size, and light transmission within the framework of city regulations. By fostering democratic dialogue and utilizing appropriate scientific evidence, the garden community were able to successfully complete their project.
We round out the issue with a website review by SECEIJ co-editor Matt Fisher (Saint Vincent College). Our World in Data is a valuable data resource developed by a team at the University of Oxford. It provides engaging data visualizations and downloadable data sets on topics that include population, economics, and infectious diseases. The website is particularly valuable to educators who wish to integrate a global dimension into their courses.
In conclusion, we wish to thank all the authors for sharing their accomplishments with the readers of this journal.
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All images courtesy of article authors.